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“A peaceful stroll” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Lake Drummond

Lake Drummond
Norfolk, VA
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Ranked #30 of 54 things to do in Norfolk
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Attraction details
Owner description: The origins of the largest natural lake in Virginia still remain a mystery.
Hartland, Wisconsin
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“A peaceful stroll”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 26, 2014

The Dismal Swamp, including the area around Lake Drummond, is a great place for a hike or a leisurely walk. In the summer, the heat, humidity, and incredible number of insects can make it less so, so best for a coolish spring or autumn day.

Visited July 2013
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6 reviews from our community

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  • English first
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English first
Richmond, Virginia
Top Contributor
79 reviews 79 reviews
37 attraction reviews
Reviews in 38 cities Reviews in 38 cities
59 helpful votes 59 helpful votes
“What a Great Father's Day I Had”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 19, 2014

We paddled Lake Drummond this past Sunday, Father's Day. That day was the last day of the current season to gain access to the lake via the "Railroad Ditch" gate and the "Interior Ditch" boat ramp. The week before, I mailed in an application, and, in return, they faxed me a "parking permit" I called them the Friday before to get the code that would open the gate. Once through the gate (just south of the refuge headquarters on the west side of Dismal Swamp NWR), there is a 6-mile road to the boat ramp.

Driving in, we drove very slowly (you really can't drive fast), but didn't see any wildlife. We put the canoe in at 9:25. It took us approximately 3 1/2 hours to paddle around the almost 9-mile lake. Nor turtles, snakes, or alligators. Plenty of birds signing, and what must be millions of frogs croaking. In the last half-mile (a section of burned out trees), we saw an adult bald eagle and, I guess, one of his youngsters at the tops of two dead trees not too far from the shoreline. They were watching us; we were watching them. Neither flew off.

We had the lake entirely to ourselves, except for the last 30 minutes when we saw a boat putting in. They were still at the ramp when we got there, and we chatted with them. They had seen a bear coming in. So, on our trip out, we drove extra slowly. And, sure enough, there was an adult bear in the road ahead of us. We watched it for a while, until it meandered off into the brush. What a great way to finish up a great day!

Visited June 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Top Contributor
152 reviews 152 reviews
77 attraction reviews
Reviews in 93 cities Reviews in 93 cities
169 helpful votes 169 helpful votes
“Unique and Beautiful”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 27, 2013

Lake Drummond is part of The Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. It is a remotely located, huge lake with Bald Cypress and many other trees in and around the water. In July, a friend and I kayaked from the Ballahack Rd boat ramp in Chesapeake (adjacent to the wonderful Dismal Swamp Canal Trail) to Lake Drummond. The journey started by kayaking a brief half mile or so on the Dismal Swamp Canal to the 4.5 mile "feeder ditch" leading to LD. It's unfortunate for such a scenic waterway to be called feeder ditch. It's fairly narrow, a rich brown color with tannic acid, and teeming with life. We saw what must have been thousands of dragonflies, dancer flies, friendly butterflies, turtles (they look like snakes when popping their heads out of the water), fish, and a black bear cub. With only about 1/2 mile remaining to reach LD, we came to a spillway or lock. There were a few people fishing and camping is allowed in this area, great spot for a picnic, and there are even restrooms. In order to continue the trip to LD, we had to manually move our kayaks from the Dismal Swamp Canal side of the spillway to the LD side. Once done, we had only about 1/2+ mile to Lake Drummond. The Lake is large and beautiful. It seemed like we were the only ones there. After an all too brief paddle about the lake, we returned by the same route. This is about a 10 mile round trip so take everything you might need; water, snacks, extra clothes, etc. A cellphone might be handy due to the lack of other people and remote location, our Verizon service had a signal most of the time. There may be others, but I know of only two other ways to reach Lake Drummond, and that is by the Suffolk entrance to The Great Dismal Swamp NWR via the Washngton Ditch Trail (hike or bike) or by getting a key from a Ranger to a locked gate and taking a road (not sure of the name) and driving very slowly about 5-7 miles to LD. If you like kayaking or canoeing, you will enjoy this paddle.

Visited July 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Norfolk, Virginia
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
8 attraction reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Give it a shot”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 28, 2013

Watch out for the shallow water there are a lot of stumps and other objects that can take out a small motor.

Visited April 2012
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Norfolk
Top Contributor
82 reviews 82 reviews
41 attraction reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
“Nice place to bike to and kayak to...”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 27, 2012

Take a bicycle and find one of the dirt walk/bikepaths on the NW side of the lake. If you go in summer cover yourself with bug juice and enjoy the ride and the views.
Paddle the lake by taking the Dismal Swamp connector canal..portaging at the locks, then paddle a couple of miles in the lake. I'll do this again sometime

Visited June 2011
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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